Shared Thanksgiving an “awesome experience” for local host

Therese Papineau may be getting a little old for the childhood game of show-and-tell, but she said it made her Thanksgiving a richer celebration.

She expanded her guest list by three international students through the Host for the Holidays program. Anvesh Sai Polari, Gurdeep Singh Boparai and Mandeep Singh Sidhu enjoyed a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings at her home on Sunday, October.

“It was an awesome experience to show and explain our Canadian traditions,” Papineau said. “I was proud to host these three students, all from India. It was an evening of shared stories and exchange of cultures.”

The program matches international students with local families willing to open their homes for a holiday meal. As Papineau drove her guests to dinner, she stopped by a farmer’s stand and asked them to pick some vegetables new to them.

“They had never seen asparagus or zucchini,” she said. “And they weren’t familiar with corn on the cob.”

She added some of each to her menu. For Sai Polari, who had only been in Canada for three weeks, it was a quick introduction to Canadian customs as he tried pumpkin pie and turkey for the first time. All the students left with a new awareness of Canadian culture, said Papineau, and plenty of leftovers to get them through the next week.

Host for the Holidays will begin accepting applications to host students for Christmas on December 3.